December ABS retail results confirm Christmas 2020 biggest on record

The December retail trade report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that Christmas 2020 was the biggest on record.

Shoppers nationwide splurged over $55 billion throughout the Christmas trade period, which spans the second-half of November and all of December.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that pent up demand following lockdowns and an inability for Australians to travel overseas had led to high levels of discretionary spending during the festive season.

“The ABS December figures are in line with the NRA’s pre-Christmas forecast that the 2020 festive season would be the biggest on record,” Ms Lamb said.

“Australian shoppers splurged more than $55 billion in retail sales throughout the second-half of November and all of December.

“From Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November right through to the final days before Christmas and Boxing Day, consumers across the country splashed their cash at the shops.

“The reopening of state economies coupled with Australians unable to spend the holiday period overseas led to a higher than usual level of discretionary spending.

“We also saw a substantial increase in online spending, with digital sales eclipsing the $5 billion mark across the Christmas period.”

Ms Lamb noted that while the figures are promising, the economy remains in a volatile state.

“These figures bode well for retailers, but as recent lockdowns in Queensland and Western Australian show the economy remains in a volatile state. Until a vaccine is widely administered there will remain a degree of uncertainty and the retail sector will continue to keep its guard up.”


Total Christmas trade figures for the 2020 period compared to 2019 are as follows:

STATE 2019 Spend 2020 Spend % Increase from 2019
NSW $15.9 Billion $17.4 Billion 9%
VIC $13.2 Billion $14.4 Billion 9%
QLD $10 Billion $11.4 Billion 14%
SA $3.2 Billion $3.5 Billion 9%
WA $5.2 Billion $6.1 Billion 17%
TAS $1 Billion $1.1 Billion 10%
NT $419 Million $491 Million 17%
ACT $931 Million $1 billion 7%
TOTAL $49.9 Billion $55.4 Billion 11%




ONLINE SALES 2019 Spend 2020 Spend % Increase from 2019
TOTAL $3.4 Billion $5.4 Billion 59%


**Total retail spend is inclusive of online sales**